Rwanda Cricket Association
CRICKET IN RWANDA
Cricket is relatively new to Rwanda, first taking root in the former Belgian colony barely 20 years ago. Following a similar trajectory to Afghanistan, the game developed through refugees who returned home after the catastrophic genocide of 1994. They had learnt their cricket in neighbouring countries like Uganda and Kenya whilst sheltering from successive waves of violence throughout Rwanda’s troubled history, and in 1999 a group of these enthusiasts (led by the irrepressible Charles Haba) founded the Rwandan Cricket Association - RCA. By 2003 they had joined the ICC as an Affiliate Member. The sport has grown quickly since then, due to a forward-looking development programme that sees cricket as an outlet for healing; for most of the RCA’s existence, the primary cricket venue, located at a vocational college, was also the site of a notorious massacre during the genocide. In 2014, the RCA established the Kwibuka (“remembrance”) tournament as part of broader national commemoration efforts. After ignominious debuts for both the male and female teams, results on the field have steadily improved, especially in the women’s game, and Rwanda now regularly competes among the second tier of African Associates. A flourishing club scene and an equal focus on youth development among boys and girls has boosted the talent pool, but with a magnificent new facility to play at, the RCA are hopeful of going a step further and challenging the primacy of regional heavyweights Kenya and Uganda. A fulcrum of the game’s development over the last few years has been the picturesque Gahanga International Stadium. Built by the charitable foundation Cricket Builds Hope, the fundraising effort drew headlines when then-captain Eric Dusingizimana batted for a world record 51-hour net session in 2016, facing deliveries from a number of celebrities including ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The stadium has hosted several international series since then, as well as a women’s empowerment programme which uses cricket to teach life skills to underprivileged local women. RCA won the ICC’s Female Participation Programme of the Year in 2020 for the collaboration with Cricket Builds Hope.
First men’s international match: vs. Mozambique, Benoni (RSA), 21st March 2004. Part of the World Cup Qualifying Series for African Affiliates Major international victories: vs. Seychelles, Accra (Ghana), 27th February 2011. ICC Africa Division 3 final. Leading men’s international players: Eric Dusabemungu (2006-2020), Eric Dusingizimana (2008- ), Orchide Tuyisenge (2018- ) World Cup appearances: 0
First women’s international match: vs. Uganda, Nairobi (Kenya), 17th December 2008. East Africa Women’s Championship. Major international victories: vs. Nigeria, Harare (Zimbabwe), 5th May 2019. ICC Women’s Qualifier Africa. vs. Nigeria, Gahanga Stadium, 7th September 2019. Their first bilateral series victory 3-2. Leading women’s international players: Diane Bimenyimana (2019- ), Gisele Ishimwe (2019- ). World Cup appearances: 0
Gahanga International Cricket Stadium (pictured), , Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC)